When nationalist MP Kamchybek Tashiev led his supporters over a fence surrounding parliament in early October, both foreign and local executives working in Kyrgyzstan’s mining industry braced for the worst. Throughout the year, the sector has been cloaked in uncertainty, with foreign investors confronting regulatory hassles and nationalization threats.
Tashiev, the leader of the opposition Ata-Jurt faction in parliament, succeeded in scaling the wrought-iron barrier – but, amid calls to nationalize Kumtor, a part-Canadian-owned gold mine -- his alleged attempt to seize control of the government failed. With Tashiev and two confederates now behind bars, representatives of the extractive industry are breathing a little easier. But the sector will never enjoy peace, they say, as long as mines are entangled in political power plays.
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Chris Rickleton is a Bishkek-based journalist.